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Observing the doings of built spaces: attempts of an ethnography of materiality

Das Tun gebauter Räume beobachten: Ansätze einer Ethnographie der Materialität
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Reh, Sabine; Temel, Robert

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Abstract The paper makes a methodological contribution to the question as to which part built space plays in social practices. In doing so, we firstly use practice theory according to Schatzki as a theoretical basis to clarify the relationship between space and activity. For that, it is important to overcome with Schatzki (and Heidegger) the difference between subjective and objective space. This is made possible by making “lived space” not independent of or dependent on subjectivity, but dependent on activity. In a second step, we will use an example of ethnographic observation to show under which conditions and advertencies it was possible to recognize space’s part in activity. We describe what appeared by chance in observation theoretically with the concept of atmosphere in the third part. This concept was introduced into the discourse on architecture by Böhme, it was rendered more precisely by Seel, and we try to connect it to our starting point in practice theory. After applying the concept of atmosphere methodologically on observation, we cautiously draw methodical consequences from this for observation of built spaces as part of social practices.
Keywords zone; building; perception; activity; ethnography; observation
Classification Research Design
Free Keywords built space; materiality; social practices; doings/ activity; agency; atmosphere; appearing
Document language English
Publication Year 2014
Page/Pages p. 167-180
Journal Historical Social Research, 39 (2014) 2
Issue topic Spatial analysis
ISSN 0172-6404
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works